Friday, June 23, 2006

The Curse of the Fire-Breathing Vixens

From the May 15th column about E3:
It wouldn't surprise me at all if NCsoft closes operations in this country within twenty-four months, especially if Tabula Rasa tanks. Their earnings (announced May 8) showed that U.S. and European revenue declined (versus last year) by HALF. That is a stunning decline.

They had a nice little thing going with City of Heroes, and Guild Wars was a terrific idea, but both of those games seem to have really hit the wall (particularly City of Heroes/Villains), and Auto Assault has had zero buzz from launch day. At E3 they announced four MMO’s that could be downloaded for free, they have a bunch of other products in the pipeline, they already have a bunch of games out there, and it all combines into a strategy that appears to be in total disorder.

I apologize for quoting myself. I feel like an asshole every time I do it--yet I keep doing it.

Today's news over at Gamespot:
Late yesterday, word began circulating around the Internet that massively multiplayer online game publisher NCsoft underwent a huge round of layoffs, cutting 90 percent of its tech support staff, 80 percent of its GMs, 75 percent of its QA staff, and a number of others.

The original posting about the layoffs on last night attributed its numbers to an unnamed developer-only message board, and said the publisher blamed poor performance of the recently released Auto Assault (which the post claims is under 10,000 subscribers since it launched in April), declining subscriptions for City of Heroes and City of Villains, and ongoing development costs of Tabula Rasa.

NCsoft wouldn't confirm f13's numbers, but the publisher today did acknowledge that its Austin arm undertook an "immediate restructuring" yesterday, eliminating 70 people from its 300-person operation. A spokesperson also told GameSpot that none of the publisher's development teams has been affected by the move, noting that the Tabula Rasa team is still hiring more people.

Full article here.

So the Curse of the Fire-Breathing Vixens has struck again. The company with the most obnoxious booth at E3 is always cursed with some sort of strange plague that will haunt them to the end of their days.

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